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The Bangtail Ghost: A Sean Stranahan Mystery

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"Keith McCafferty is a top-notch, first-rate, can't-miss novelist." --C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author In Montana's Gravelly Range, paw prints discovered at the horrific scene suggest a woman had been attacked and carried away into the wilderness by a mountain lion. Sheriff Martha Ettinger employs her fiancé, sometimes-detective Sean Stranahan, to put a name to "Keith McCafferty is a top-notch, first-rate, can't-miss novelist." --C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author In Montana's Gravelly Range, paw prints discovered at the horrific scene suggest a woman had been attacked and carried away into the wilderness by a mountain lion. Sheriff Martha Ettinger employs her fiancé, sometimes-detective Sean Stranahan, to put a name to the gnawed bones and single discarded breast implant comprising all that is left of the body, the first of several deaths that perhaps are not as simple to explain as they first appear to be. The gruesome trail will lead him from the ridges of wintry Montana to the sun-scorched foothills of the Indian Himalayas, as Sean finds himself on his most adventurous and dangerous quest yet. For as he comes closer to unearthing the secret shared by the dead and missing, the tracks he is following will turn, and the hunter becomes the hunted.


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"Keith McCafferty is a top-notch, first-rate, can't-miss novelist." --C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author In Montana's Gravelly Range, paw prints discovered at the horrific scene suggest a woman had been attacked and carried away into the wilderness by a mountain lion. Sheriff Martha Ettinger employs her fiancé, sometimes-detective Sean Stranahan, to put a name to "Keith McCafferty is a top-notch, first-rate, can't-miss novelist." --C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author In Montana's Gravelly Range, paw prints discovered at the horrific scene suggest a woman had been attacked and carried away into the wilderness by a mountain lion. Sheriff Martha Ettinger employs her fiancé, sometimes-detective Sean Stranahan, to put a name to the gnawed bones and single discarded breast implant comprising all that is left of the body, the first of several deaths that perhaps are not as simple to explain as they first appear to be. The gruesome trail will lead him from the ridges of wintry Montana to the sun-scorched foothills of the Indian Himalayas, as Sean finds himself on his most adventurous and dangerous quest yet. For as he comes closer to unearthing the secret shared by the dead and missing, the tracks he is following will turn, and the hunter becomes the hunted.

30 review for The Bangtail Ghost: A Sean Stranahan Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    #8 in the Sean Stranahan mystery series. This 2020 series entry by author Keith McCafferty advances the romance between part time detective Sean and Sheriff Martha Ettinger. The plot involves mountain lions and their rare attacks on humans and also touches upon the use of dogs and houndsmen to track and capture/kill the big cats. In this plot there are a number of attacks and deaths ascribed to lions, but after the killer is killed the attacks continue. There is a gimmicky resolution to the stor #8 in the Sean Stranahan mystery series. This 2020 series entry by author Keith McCafferty advances the romance between part time detective Sean and Sheriff Martha Ettinger. The plot involves mountain lions and their rare attacks on humans and also touches upon the use of dogs and houndsmen to track and capture/kill the big cats. In this plot there are a number of attacks and deaths ascribed to lions, but after the killer is killed the attacks continue. There is a gimmicky resolution to the story but it doesn't matter since the real story is the Montana country and the people who inhabit Sean's orbit. The discovery of a woman's mutilated body in the mountains of southwest Montana propels painter, fishing guide, and occasional PI Sean Stranahan to find the truth. Paw prints and DNA evidence indicate that the woman was killed and partially eaten by a mountain lion. The locals react with alarm, and Sean's fiancée, Sheriff Martha Ettinger, forms a task force to identify the victim and track down the lion before it kills again. Initial attempts fail dramatically, but eventually Sean and dog handler Buster Garrett tree and kill the cat in a vividly drawn nighttime chase. A few months later, however, when both a sheep herder and Buster are killed in eerily similar lion attacks, the cycle appears to be starting again.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abibliofob

    I have read and enjoyed The Bangtail Ghost, it's the latest Sean Stranahan mystery from Keith McCafferty. There were not a lot of fishing in this book but at least we got a marriage. Usually all characters I read about loses their spouse and or their children not this time. It was very interesting reading about mountain cats. I usually feel like I want to visit this place and despite all the deaths I still feel this way. I just love the setting and characters in this series and although I'm no f I have read and enjoyed The Bangtail Ghost, it's the latest Sean Stranahan mystery from Keith McCafferty. There were not a lot of fishing in this book but at least we got a marriage. Usually all characters I read about loses their spouse and or their children not this time. It was very interesting reading about mountain cats. I usually feel like I want to visit this place and despite all the deaths I still feel this way. I just love the setting and characters in this series and although I'm no fisherman still enjoy those parts of the books. I really recommend that you try this series. It's fantastic.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I put off reading this for some time because I loved the feeling of having one of McCafferty's books "in the bank" so to speak, waiting for me. Finally, I couldn't wait any longer but did read as slowly as possible in order to savour the setting and enjoy the story. Always something new to learn when reading about Sean, Martha, etc.. In this case, mountain lions, fascinating creatures, aptly described as ghosts. I like the author's descriptive phrases (all the more because I tried to read this b I put off reading this for some time because I loved the feeling of having one of McCafferty's books "in the bank" so to speak, waiting for me. Finally, I couldn't wait any longer but did read as slowly as possible in order to savour the setting and enjoy the story. Always something new to learn when reading about Sean, Martha, etc.. In this case, mountain lions, fascinating creatures, aptly described as ghosts. I like the author's descriptive phrases (all the more because I tried to read this book so slowly!) - things like "the fat scythe of its tail" "the pastel palette of dawn, powder-blue wafers of sky layered on top of pink streaks in alternating bands. Montana, yawning awake." Also enjoyed the contrast in such descriptions as the "delicate feather patterns where the eagles had touched their wings to the snow" juxtaposed with the carnage of violent death. Those who haven't discovered this author yet have a treat in store as this is his 8th Sean Stranahan book. May there be many more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Randal White

    Love McCafferty’s series. He does it again. Pulled me in within the first couple of pages. Another great story. Great characters. Fast moving. Ended way too soon, I wish it had another 1000 pages! Bravo!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Sean Stranahan and his fiancé Sheriff Martha Ettinger find themselves with a problem when a woman is murdered and then eaten by a mountain lion. And she's likely not the first - a teen, a young boy, and others have gone missing. The first challenge is identifying the victim and then second is finding the cat. And it's not the last kill the cat will make. This is a perfect blend of wildlife and mystery peppered with wonderful vivid characters, including a brother sister pair who live with Tatiana Sean Stranahan and his fiancé Sheriff Martha Ettinger find themselves with a problem when a woman is murdered and then eaten by a mountain lion. And she's likely not the first - a teen, a young boy, and others have gone missing. The first challenge is identifying the victim and then second is finding the cat. And it's not the last kill the cat will make. This is a perfect blend of wildlife and mystery peppered with wonderful vivid characters, including a brother sister pair who live with Tatiana the lynx. Just about everyone is hiding something (save Sean and Martha) up to and including old friends who don't want to confess their weaknesses or their aspirations until pushed. I learned a great deal reading this about mountain lions, the use of dogs to chase down lions, tagging, and, let's face it, man eating beasts. There's terrific atmospherics as Sean and the others chase after the lion. Some of it is gruesome (the end is for sure) but there's also a big heart in here. I've only read one of the preceding books so this was virtually a standalone for me- and I loved it (and now will be looking for the next one). No spoilers as to how things turn out but it's not all bad (especially for Sean and Martha). Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. A great read that transported me to Montana. Highly recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    M. O'Gannon

    The Bangtail Ghost by Keith McCafferty: Sean Stranahan is at it again, solving mysteries in rural Montana. A man-eating mountain lion is on the loose and a mixed team of law enforcement, naturalists, and lion houndsman are joined together to catch the cat before it kills again. The strange mix of the pursuit group becomes stranger as the characters are revealed. Stranahan’s romance with sheriff Martha Ettinger continues in this novel adding a softer sub plot. This is the third McCafferty novel I The Bangtail Ghost by Keith McCafferty: Sean Stranahan is at it again, solving mysteries in rural Montana. A man-eating mountain lion is on the loose and a mixed team of law enforcement, naturalists, and lion houndsman are joined together to catch the cat before it kills again. The strange mix of the pursuit group becomes stranger as the characters are revealed. Stranahan’s romance with sheriff Martha Ettinger continues in this novel adding a softer sub plot. This is the third McCafferty novel I have enjoyed and McCafferty’s writing skills continue to improve. This novel strays away from some of the previous novels heavy accent on fly fishing, and since I do not fish, this was a positive to me. Reading the book, you feel McCafferty’s love of the great Montana outdoors and his respect for nature. McCafferty obviously spent a good deal of time researching mountain lions as the detail of their habits and environment come alive as the plot unfolds. Since I live in the area that is the setting for the series, it is especially fun to follow along on roads that I frequently drive. McCafferty represents the local geography well. I look forward to the next Stranahan novel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Homerun2

    Another stellar Sean Stranahan mystery. I think this is an exceptional series, in the quality of the writing, the great descriptions of the wild Montana setting, the characterizations and the ingenious plots. This might work as a standalone but why not enjoy the others? If anyone has been avoiding this series because they are not interested in fishing, do yourself a favor and pick up the first book and start a great reading experience. This time out, artist/fly fisherman/private detective Sean an Another stellar Sean Stranahan mystery. I think this is an exceptional series, in the quality of the writing, the great descriptions of the wild Montana setting, the characterizations and the ingenious plots. This might work as a standalone but why not enjoy the others? If anyone has been avoiding this series because they are not interested in fishing, do yourself a favor and pick up the first book and start a great reading experience. This time out, artist/fly fisherman/private detective Sean and his fiancee Sheriff Martha Ettinger are hunting a mountain lion that has developed a taste for humans. And the circle of people who hunt and study the mountain lions are a strange bunch, to say the least. As the action unfolds, we also see Sean and Martha take stock of their decision to marry and make adjustments to their life together. Entertaining, suspenseful, eerie, humorous and altogether captivating. And the cover is incredible. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Drick

    The Bangtail Ghost is a mountain lion known to have attacked humans. A young woman's body is found in the mountain woods, and then a sheepherder is found to be a second victim. Sean Stranahan (sometime detective) and Marth Ettinger (county sheriff) lead an investigation to find how many lions are out there in the Montana wilds and which ones have been tracking humans. However, then a man who has hounds that track the mountain lions is found dead and the plo[t thickens. As it turns out there are The Bangtail Ghost is a mountain lion known to have attacked humans. A young woman's body is found in the mountain woods, and then a sheepherder is found to be a second victim. Sean Stranahan (sometime detective) and Marth Ettinger (county sheriff) lead an investigation to find how many lions are out there in the Montana wilds and which ones have been tracking humans. However, then a man who has hounds that track the mountain lions is found dead and the plo[t thickens. As it turns out there are other forces at work that nearly lead Sean to his death. But he survives so that he and Martha can get married after a long on-again-off-again relationship ( which you pick up in the earlier Sean Stranahan books). The special treat was a character with my name is also found in the book and turns out to play a significant role.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Sean Stranahan and Sheriff Martha Ettinger are back, investigating the death of a woman at the jaws of a mountain lion.. Interesting secondary characters, and the relationship between the primary characters has developed in a very satisfying manner over the course of the series. Stranahan's character has become more interesting as he has become less of a ladies' man (although the author makes sure we know he's still very attractive to women besides his fiancee!). Highly recommended. Many thanks Sean Stranahan and Sheriff Martha Ettinger are back, investigating the death of a woman at the jaws of a mountain lion.. Interesting secondary characters, and the relationship between the primary characters has developed in a very satisfying manner over the course of the series. Stranahan's character has become more interesting as he has become less of a ladies' man (although the author makes sure we know he's still very attractive to women besides his fiancee!). Highly recommended. Many thanks to NetGalley and Viking for the opportunity to read the eARC.

  10. 5 out of 5

    BrkrDave

    I thought this was one of the best books of the series. It is combines humor, human behavior and mystery all together with a flair that just makes you sorry when you reach the end of the book. If you like stories in which the characters are clearly laid out with a little Montana philosophy added in (like you can't tell who is a hunter in Montana, some look like your grandma with purple hair others look like the barista at the world class coffee shop with the dreadlocks tucked under their cap). A I thought this was one of the best books of the series. It is combines humor, human behavior and mystery all together with a flair that just makes you sorry when you reach the end of the book. If you like stories in which the characters are clearly laid out with a little Montana philosophy added in (like you can't tell who is a hunter in Montana, some look like your grandma with purple hair others look like the barista at the world class coffee shop with the dreadlocks tucked under their cap). An excellent book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda Frances

    I'm not into fly fishing, and I don't like westerns, but I like this series. The fact that I guessed the perpetrator early on, didn't diminish my enjoyment at all. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!! Don't read on if you don't want to know! I'm glad that Sean and Martha married. One reviewer commented that the series probably wouldn't be as exciting, but I disagree. Many of my favorite series feature married characters. After all, there is drama in the happiest marriages. I get tired of the romance style angst I'm not into fly fishing, and I don't like westerns, but I like this series. The fact that I guessed the perpetrator early on, didn't diminish my enjoyment at all. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!! Don't read on if you don't want to know! I'm glad that Sean and Martha married. One reviewer commented that the series probably wouldn't be as exciting, but I disagree. Many of my favorite series feature married characters. After all, there is drama in the happiest marriages. I get tired of the romance style angst with single characters that goes on and on in book after book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    MELISSA

    Every Sean Stranahan book I read from Keith McCafferty deepens and grows and delights from the human characters to the magnificent animals to the stirring descriptions of the Montana settings. Add murder and bad guys to the above mix and I sit back and soak it all in while I am wincing at Sean and his tireless refusal to listen even to his own reason when confronting murder. Great story and Rick Holmes as narrator honors the words.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Craig Wakefield

    I am not familiar with the characters in this book but I am familiar with some of the locations in this book having lived in Montana. The Bangtail Ghost suggest that the Montana that I lived in and loved is a much more dangerous place than I imagined. You will have to decide if the detail and focus on mountain lions is worth the time spend both writing about them and for us to read about.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Read as an audiobook performed by Rick Holmes, nearly 9 hours in length. Excellent story and presentation. Would be suitable for most audiences, if they can tolerate reference to the gore associated with a large cat eaten body. If anything, the presentation was somewhat understated. This is my first Sean Stranahan mystery and I would be interested in more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    As soon as I started reading the first page I was hooked, and found it hard to put the book down. McCafferty really can tell a story and make you feel like you are there in Montana. I had heard him talk about this book when it was first released, thus I knew a bit about the back stories, which made it even better.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Part of a woman’s body is found in the Montana forest. There were obvious mountain lion teeth marks. It may be that this supposed killer has become a man eater, which is rare. Sean comes into investigate and track the killer. All is not as simple as it first seems. A fun read with a lot of information about mountain lions and life in Montana.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kay Jarr

    Excellent Outdoor Adventure What can I say.?...I am a fan of Sean and Martha and I enjoy every one of these books. I always learn something and I always wish I were younger and in better shape to enjoy the mountains and rivers described in these stories. For a little while, I am there ....

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodman

    Sean is now living with Martha, about to be married, and odd as it seemed at first, I think it will largely work out, although he is an irritating flirt. That aside, the plot in this installment revolves around mountain lions and what appears to be one that killed a human. Scary with the poissibilites.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Zak

    New author for me, and a truly gifted one. The main characters are wonderfully strong, interesting and human. Montana, wildlife and humans interact with predictable outcomes. Wildlife preys on man; man preys on man. Surprise endings pull it all together in a remarkable story. Well done

  20. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Tumbleweed McNabb

    To get the full feel of this book it is a good idea to have read other books in this Series by this Author. The Narrator does a great job with the characters and storyline of this book. This story revolves around Mountain Lions and the wilderness of Montana. I highly recommend this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alan Burgess

    I'm sorry. I have read all of the books in this series and this one just doesn't measure up. I felt like he lost the thread of the story somewhere in the middle (if there ever was one). Still enjoyed reading it but he could have done a better job. I'm sorry. I have read all of the books in this series and this one just doesn't measure up. I felt like he lost the thread of the story somewhere in the middle (if there ever was one). Still enjoyed reading it but he could have done a better job.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Ann Jeavons

    Good read! Keith McCafferty is one of my favorite authors! He's always a good read! His characters are rich and hardy/hearty and his words well chosen and savory.... Good read! Keith McCafferty is one of my favorite authors! He's always a good read! His characters are rich and hardy/hearty and his words well chosen and savory....

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rusty Burlingame

    One of the better books in a very enjoyable series. Loved one of the very touching ending chapters.

  24. 4 out of 5

    nick dyne

    perhaps his best. One the one hand the characters and writing is best, but on the other, not enough fishing and obvious who dun it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Great descriptions of people and their quirks. I am not sure how much farther this series can go, when people get married, they tend to get boring. LOL

  26. 5 out of 5

    Edward M. Andrews

    Another amazing Sean Strange an story. I could hardly put down my Kindle, finished the story in a day. Non stop intrigue, great visualization of the story..

  27. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    What a story! What an education! What a wonderful three days of escape to the wilds of Montana! Great writing, as usual. Super engrossing tale with plenty of twists and turns, compellingly told.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Happy Reader

    Cat Great story. Good explanation of cat behavior and obsessed cat activists. To hear about a human so obsessed that he thinks like a cat.

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

    Probably my least favorite book of the series. Entertaining but not as captivating as previous books in my opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I read about 50 pages. I didn't like this book at all. I didn't think the humor was humorous, and had to skip some of the violent sections. Not for me. I read about 50 pages. I didn't like this book at all. I didn't think the humor was humorous, and had to skip some of the violent sections. Not for me.

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